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Brian Tollefson, son of the original owner of Tolly's Time Out, along with girlfriend Geri Olson, is reopening the popular restaurant and lounge Tuesday. -- Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

Back to the classic; Tolly’s set to open Tuesday with original format

Published 10:32am Monday, January 28, 2013

It has been more than nine months since Tolly’s Time Out was last open. And when its new owners unlock the doors Tuesday morning, they’ll finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Brian Tollefson and his girlfriend, Geri Olson, will open Tolly’s at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday after months of preparing the Austin landmark.

“We’re ready to get things going for sure,” Brian said. “It’s been so much work the last three months.”

Brian is the son of the former owners, Dave Tollefson, a longtime county commissioner who opened Tolly’s in 1984 and passed away in 2009, and Peggy Tollefson, who has owned the property at 100 14th St. SW since then.

But it has gone through two other owners in the past few years. Jim Herrick bought it in 2006, kept the same menu for four years, but turned it into an Italian diner with a large wine selection for the final two years before closing in May 2011. Then in December 2011, Julie Johnson opened it again, renamed it Home Plate and used a baseball theme, but closing it again by April 2012. So after two unsuccessful attempts at change, Brian Tollefson decided to go back to the original.

The sign for Tolly's Time Out once against stands over the intersection of Oakland Avenue West and 14th Street.

“We had 23 years of business with my folks running it, and a lot of people wanted that back, so we figured that was the best way to go,” he said.

The classic Tolly’s — which had a soft opening for about 50 people on Friday — will be officially back Tuesday, with a menu featuring steaks, ribs, shrimp and the homemade soups Brian said his parents’ diner was known for. It will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch, 5-10 p.m. for dinner, and it will also have a full bar, which will be open all day.

Brian, who will continue to work fulltime at Smyth Printing in Austin, said they hope to hire about 24 employees, and have already rehired several waiters and a bartender who worked at Tolly’s before. Olson will also continue to work fulltime from home for an international sales company.

“We’ll both be really busy for awhile,” Brian said. But the decision to open it wasn’t a hard one, he said, because he didn’t like seeing his parents’ diner sit empty.

“We decided to make it work,” he said.

Now, his mom is glad it’s open again, and he believes his dad would be pleased, too.

Original owner of Tolly's Time Out Dave Tollefson is once again ready to greet customers to Tolly's Time Out. His portrait is one of the first things guests will see upon entering the restaurant.

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